Happy Easter everyone. Let’s celebrate a day off of work by trying to side-step a discussion whether you can like an album because of who is singing it. I know this is something I will be delving into when I reach an album by Oasis, but for Michael Jackson I’m just going to try and get to know the music.
Off The Wall marked Michael Jackson’s first album off of the Motown label and his fifth solo album overall, at the age of 21. It is very well known how much of a child star he was, but five solo albums and 15 as part of The Jackson Five… well that’s just ridiculous.
In many ways Off The Wall feels like a debut album. There is that rush of the album trying to be as instant as possible whilst showcasing a large range of vocal ability. It was a new label, a new relationship with a producer, a new direction and a greater degree of confidence in his voice.
It also feels like two EPs put together. The second half of the album feels weaker as that’s when he starts to go into the territory of balladry. ‘She’s Out Of My Life’ still delivers with Jackson providing a good injection honesty, but the rest of the half feels a little lacklustre coming after the initial five tracks. He does get a bit of his mojo back with the closer ‘Burn The Disco Out’ if I am being kind.
Then again, it is hard to follow up an album when you begin with ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’. It is a classic and shows Michael Jackson at his best. It leads into a first half where you can feel the disco dripping off of the songs, and it is awesome. I never thought I would appreciate music with the disco in is, mainly because the video for ‘D.I.S.C.O.’ by Ottawan is so ridiculous, but Off The Wall does make a good case for it.
In the end, Off The Wall ticks some boxes for me on the first half but when it slows down the interest does begin to wane… around the time he covers a song by Wings. Still, it’s a far cry from the parody he became to be known as.